Hernia (Inguinal) Repair
Hernia repair surgery is a very common procedure. A hernia occurs when an internal organ or fatty tissue pushes through a weakness in the surrounding tissue wall, causing a lump. There are many types of hernia.
An inguinal hernia occurs in the inguinal canal, a narrow passage in which blood vessels pass through your lower abdomen. It is the result of fatty tissue or a part of the intestine pushing through weakness in the wall of the abdominal cavity, appearing as a lump in your groin. This is the most common form of hernia, particularly for men. This type of hernia is associated with ageing and repeated strain on the abdomen.
The most common symptoms are pain, swelling and discomfort at the site of the hernia. Hernias aren’t usually life threatening but should always be examined by your GP immediately because in some cases your intestines or other structures can get trapped and have their blood supply cut off, causing a strangulated hernia.
In most cases a hernia will simply contain fatty tissue. Often, they can be pushed in and may disappear when lying down but straining or coughing can make the lump appear again. If your hernia is growing larger or causing pain, surgery may be recommended.
An inguinal hernia can usually be diagnosed by physical examination and confirmed by an ultrasound or CT scan.
Following diagnosis, your consultant will advise if surgery is appropriate. This is dependent on:
- type of hernia, some are more likely to become strangulated, or cause bowel obstruction
- content of the hernia, if the hernia contains a part of your bowel, muscle or other tissue, there may be a risk of strangulation or obstruction
- severity of pain and discomfort
- impact on your day-to-day living
- your general health
A hernia is usually repaired using a synthetic mesh, either with open surgery or using less invasive laparoscopic procedures.
There are two laparoscopic techniques:
Transabdominal preperitoneal (TAPP) repair
Your surgeon goes into the peritoneal cavity and places a mesh through a peritoneal incision over possible hernia sites.
Totally extraperitoneal (TEP) repair
TEP is different in that the peritoneal cavity is not entered and mesh is used to seal the hernia from outside the peritoneum (the thin membrane covering the organs in the abdomen).
For either laparoscopic procedure, small incisions are made to allow your surgeon to insert a thin, lighted scope called a laparoscope through one incision into your abdomen. Surgical instruments to repair the hernia are inserted through other incisions. Your abdominal cavity will be filled with gas for clear visibility of the affected area and easier access. Your surgeon will return the part of the abdomen that is causing the hernia and insert a synthetic mesh to cover the weak spot.
Either procedure will take around half an hour and is performed under general anaesthetic.
Laparoscopic surgery is generally a more attractive option for the patient, as there is less damage to surrounding tissue, reduced scarring and recovery times are much faster. However, not all hernias are suitable for laparoscopic surgery.
Open hernia repair can be done under general, spinal, or local anaesthesia. An incision is made close to the site of the hernia to enable your surgeon to push the hernia back into position and repair the weakened area using stitches or a piece of reinforcing synthetic mesh.
Recovery Following Surgery
It is usually possible to return home on the day of your surgery. You will need someone to drive you and you should have someone with you for at least 24 hours following a general anaesthetic.
You will need to completely rest for the first couple of days after surgery to heal. After a couple of days, you may feel ready to do light tasks around the home and go for a walk.
After 2 weeks, you should be able to return to light exercise such as jogging, cycling and swimming.
You should be able to return to work 1-2 weeks following surgery, although if your job is physically demanding you will need to take a longer time off.
Complete recovery from hernia repair surgery will take 4-6 weeks. Recovery is generally faster with laparoscopic surgery, rather than open surgery. However, contact sports and all forms of lifting should be avoided until two months has passed to ensure that the tissues have healed properly and minimise the chance of recurrence.
At One Healthcare we can book you in to see a Consultant General Surgeon, usually within 48 hours, for an initial consultation. Hernia repair surgery is available at One Ashford Hospital in Kent and One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Hernia (Inguinal) Repair treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at either the One Ashford Hospital or One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Healthcare
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016 (Ashford) December 2017 (Hatfield)
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, X-ray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience